The Flesh

Sweet Defeat [EP]

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New York sex dealers the Flesh return with their second EP, this time for Gernblandsten and with a more dynamic sound. While Death Connection got the groove right, it still seemed more like a cool kid art project than something real. Sweet Defeat, er, fleshes out the Flesh sound. Yes, there's pose here. But for bands in this fashion-concerned arc of sharp post-punk breaks, pink'n'grey '80s oblivion, and 21st century urban savvy, pose is a necessary intangible. "Sweet Defeat" rocks hot lyrics -- "I've got to love it when I rub it!" -- over frantically stopping and starting verses and a rowdy chorus. Guitarist Nathan Halpern yelps like a male Carrie Brownstein as Gabriella Zappia's keyboard and vocal drop-ins give the song all kinds of character. It's like Hot Hot Heat covering the Streets' "Let's Push Things Forward." "Night Loop" leans a little too much on the whizzy keys, but ragged rhythm guitar and charmingly lo-fi production keep it from being a shameless synth pop rehash. Live, it's undoubtedly a surefire dance-off creator. Halpern drops into a hip-hop cadence for "Cuts," before a chorus of "woah woah"s and surging synthesizers switches the whole thing into full-on epic mode. Epic? To describe an arty downtown four-piece? Yep. And the resulting remix just makes that chorus soar higher. The Flesh will either die a quick yet good-looking death or release an amazing full-length -- it's unclear. But for now there's Sweet Defeat, which joyously turns suburban living rooms into naughty red-light districts.

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